The art of the music video emerged in earnest early in the 80's with the advent of MTV. With it came the death of the radio star, and the birth of a brand new musical experience.
Fast-forward 3 decades and... Honestly, not much has changed. Music videos are still music videos. We're not quite up to immersive VR videos with Madonna and friends just yet (oh, so close). There's quite a lot more twerking though, so progress? Not quite.
As for artistic liberties taken in music videos; well, that was the case when they started. Cab Calloway rotoscoped as a ghost-walrus strutting about in a Betty Boop cartoon circa 1930 was pretty artistic for its time, albeit weird for a kids show.
Why then is Childish Gambino's video for "This is America" such a big deal? Is it the political commentary? Is it the choreography?
I'd like to go out on a limb and guess it has a lot to do with the illusory, competently shot visuals that have hoisted it to such heights. And the man behind those is Hiro Murai.
Hiro the music video Hero?
Yes, Hiro Murai; director of numerous successful music videos caught the shots in "This is America," "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes, "Smooth Sailing" by Queens of the Stone Age and many more.
His style and perspective seem finely tuned for success with the masses, yet he has a tendency to very cleverly insert loads of little details into each project that you've got to work at not overlooking.
Operating on 2 separate levels, Murai works in the obvious and the obfuscated, the conscious and the unconscious. Its music video magic is what it is!
Easter eggs, hidden meanings, where's Waldos (ok, not those)... There are layers to his work that go unnoticed by most, hidden in plain sight.
There's layers to this sh, player, tiramisu, tiramisu - Macklemore (Downtown)
In "This is America," there was a man falling off a balcony, a second crowd of onlookers and some guy riding a white horse across the screen. You probably missed all of that on your first look.
Murai's visual aesthetic focuses in on the minimalistic and injects ample amounts of weirdness - resulting in an overall surreal, trippy experience.
Just get a load of the video for "Smooth Sailing" by Queens of the Stone Age.
Faces and mushrooms in bright smoke; oh, and don't mind the baphomet under an umbrella. Strange stuff indeed...
Read our article on the 5 Deadly Venoms...
This article may contain affiliate links. We earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!